Pretoria - Provinces increased their spending by R7.1 billion in the first half of 2010/11, said National Treasury.
"In aggregate, provinces spent R152.6 billion, or 46.3 percent, of their main budgets of R329.8 billion for the first half of the 2010/11 financial year. This represents a spending increase of 4.9 percent or R7.1 billion compared with the same period last year when provinces had spent R145.5 billion," said Treasury on Thursday.
The report covers spending by provinces for the first six months of the financial year (April to September).
According to Treasury, education expenditure totalled R65.5 billion or 47.6 percent of the R137.4 billion combined education budget. It remains the largest item on provincial budgets at 41.7 percent. This represents an increase of 11.1 percent compared with the same period last year.
The second largest item on provincial budgets was health totaling R46.3 billion of the R98.4 billion combined health budgets. "This is an increase of 9.1 per cent or R3.9 billion on the same period last year," said Treasury.
At the time of tabling the 2010 provincial main budgets, expenditures such as higher than budgeted for personnel remuneration increases and occupational specific dispensation payments for the provincial health sector, were not foreseen.
R8.4 billion was spent by provinces in aggregate of their R25.4 billion combined capital budgets. This is a decline of 23.5 percent when compared with the same period in 2009/10.
Meanwhile, provincial education departments spent R2.1 billion of the budgeted R7.2 billion for capital expenditure. "This is 33.3 percent or R1 billion less than what was spent the previous financial year."